Fostex HP-A8 - review

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by quadpatch, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Here is my review of the HP-A8:

    Noble Hi-Fi: Fostex: HP-A8 - review

    Robin: Seriously you have to get some of these to go with the TH900's!! My TH900 review will be coming very soon...

    Oh and I started a facebook page over the weekend too (and liked hifiheadphones from it of course! :)).

    Noble Hifi | Facebook
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    We borrowed the HP-A8 from Tony at the same time as we borrowed the TH900. The combination is nearly as frightening as the price!:D We really liked what we heard, Fostex seem very focussed - their last few products have been great!
     
  3. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Ha, that's a good way of putting it :p. I thought that the amp was a bit easier to justify than the headphones, but well - I will talk about that more in my next review :).
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I might have missed it, but with 2 different headphones plugged in, can the volume be set differently for each?
     
  5. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Ow damn, I knew there was something that I forgot to mention, thanks for asking Dale :). No I don't think there was, not that I found anyway, and I read most of the manual. It was great for testing the V-Moda M-100 vs the M-80 and the Denon D7000 vs the Fostex TH900 but for most other dual listening experiences it wouldn't be so good.

    I didn't have a great deal of time with this machine and just after it went back I wondered whether changing the gain would only affect one of the headphone outputs - thus giving a solution to this problem. That seems like a good idea in my head anyway, but like I say - it's not mentioned in the manual.

    I also forgot to mention that the analogue outputs are both balanced and variable... meh, I have some editing to do :p
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I suppose not many people do a lot of A-B headphone testing, but then, probably a lot fewer have two people listening to the same amp with headphones at the same time. So given the price of this thing and having two headphone outs, they really should facilitate those A-B comparisons. But, not having two volume knobs would make the job much more difficult. The biggest concentration break is taking a headphone off and mounting another one on my head. So anything at all that adds to that interruption, such as having to reach for a switch other than turning a volume knob, greatly reduces the effectiveness.

    Of course, if the gain can be adjusted independently by any means at all, then I could compare two headphones by adjusting the gain so each channel has the same relative volume in the midrange (or whatever works), but then just change the music track and the relative balance isn't the same because the main energy for another track may be higher or lower in the spectrum, and the headphones having a different signature balance, won't track the same with different music tracks. So I think two ordinary volume pots are the only reasonable solution.
     
  7. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Yeah you are exactly right about the biggest issue with A-B testing is still taking the headphones on and off your head :p. Someone will read that and think that's so obvious, why did you say that, but that exact thing occurred to me with this amp during testing, it still made the process a lot easier, but yeah - fundamental problems :).

    This process is what really accentuated my dislike for the M-100 actually. I kept going back to the M-80 on the Fostex HP-A8 and being so much more impressed!

    I heard a headphone amplifier maker respond to someone asking for two volume dials on an amp, one that he and his wife could listen to different headphones together with. Their response was that so much would need to be done twice in the circuitry that you might as well just to buy two identical amps - ouch!

    EDIT: I'm pretty sure you can do the gain adjustment on one of the Resonessence Invicta's headphone outputs but... yeah it's more than twice the price of the HP-A8!! About 1/2 the size though :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  8. marcusd

    marcusd Member

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    Might have two discreet circuits for each out like the original FiiO E9 and a few others to mention.
     
  9. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I read the review and comments at Headfonia. Extremely optimistic review, especially the comments about soundstage and the sense of making the sound come alive. $2000 USD is also a very high price for the average Joe. I've had perfect results with Foobar2000 and Windows XP, but with Windows 7 I get ticks and pops I can't resolve, especially with 88k tracks. If I could be certain of a fix for Windows 7, then I might consider saving up for this amp. But I wouldn't play anything less than a great headphone with it.

    BTW, google searches show HP-A8c only. Are there different versions?
     
  10. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    No there aren't different models as far as I know. They just sometimes leave off the 'c', like the front panel, but this is the HP-A8c. I only tested it on windows 7 machines and don't experience any ticks or pops on any of my DACs, not that I've noticed anyway. Well I get some on Spotify but that's their fault and that doesn't do bit-perfect anyway. Have you tried the WASAPI setting on Foobar on Win7? Also I recommend JRiver if you haven't already tried it.
     
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